A picturesque town on Lake Constance, this German destination is an Alpine charmer, home to a medieval centre and beautiful harbour, as Blossom Green discovers
Why go Sitting pretty on Lake Constance, Lindau is an idyllic blend of old style and outdoor living. A relatively tiny speck of an island close to the Austrian border and framed by Alpine mountains, it’s known for its traditional old town, Mediterranean greenery and unhurried pace. Referred to as the ‘Bavarian Riviera’, now is the ideal time to explore the winding streets en route to the harbour and dip a toe into the water, which reaches 22C. This month, the two-day wine festival Komm und See (7-8 July) sees 12 wineries in Lindau and the surrounding lake area celebrate their local bins. We’ll drink to that. kommundsee.de
What to do Expect an easy-going vibe here in spite of a fraught past, which has seen it change between Austrian and Bavarian rule. Visually, Lindau is a town held in time. It was once the stomping ground of 19th-century well-to-doers, who snapped up land on the shores of the lake to build elegant villas, which still stand. Today, the medieval streets of the old town are home to trendy cafés and boutique shops that sit side-by-side with colourful historical buildings such as the gothic Town Hall and Church of St Peter. A wander along the sweeping Maximilianstrasse brings you into the thick of it. The wide pedestrianised street gives way to twisting alleys reminiscent of York’s Shambles and squares filled with alfresco diners, while artisan jewellery and unusual wares are sold from ancient gabled houses. At its eastern end, the Marktplatz hosts an open-air farmer’s market on Saturdays, and Wednesdays from April to October. Sample local fruits and speciality cheeses such as piquant Allgäu as you watch fishermen tout their hauls fresh from Lake Constance. Culture vultures should hit up the nearby Stadtmuseum kultur-lindau.de where works by avant-garde painter Paul Klee are showing until 27 August. From here, it’s a short walk to the shores of the lake and the harbour entrance, with its 33m-tall lighthouse and statue of the Bavarian Lion. Climb the lighthouse’s 139 steps to the viewing platform (around £2.20) for stunning panoramas before relaxing in the palm-laden Stadtgarten.
Currency is the euro. Time is one hour ahead of GMT. Flight time from London is around 4.5 hours during the summer months, with direct flights running December through April. The cost to carbon-offset is £2.06. For more details visit climatecare.org
Lufthansa flies from London Heathrow via Frankfurt to Bodensee Airport Friedrichshafen, which is 27km away. lufthansa.com
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Jun Where to stay Boutique Adara adara-lindau.de in Alter Schulplatz comprises four 13th-century houses, and the design of the 14 rooms merges original stonework and wooden beams with murals and a neutral palette. The family run Lindauer Hof lindauerhof.de has served visitors for nearly 40 years. Each of the 30 rooms are individually designed, and its rusty red facade and jagged roof act as a beacon all of its own from its position on the harbour’s promenade. Take a peek out of your bedroom window at five-star Hotel Bayerisher Hof bayerischerhof-lindau.de and witness the Bavarian Lion proudly perched over the glistening lake. The decor is fresh and there’s a garden area and outdoor pool.
Where to eat At a crossroads of cultures, Lindau’s German borders tickle both Switzerland and Austria, resulting in a cuisine that encompasses the best of each, while its lakeside locale ensures only that the freshest fish land on your plate. Valentin bio-logisch.bayern serves dishes using organic and biodynamic ingredients. On a warm day, the shady terrace makes a wonderful backdrop to plates of whitefish and herb salad and savoury röstis with serrano ham and rocket, while homemade heather sorbet to finish is a cool taste of the mountains. Strandhaus strandhaus.li is the perfect summer pit stop. Literally. Its speciality is barbecue – meat from the Swabia region is cooked on a low heat for 12 hours, then dished up with homemade spätzle noodles in a family style buffet that’s best washed down with Bavarian beer. Gasthof Alte Post alte-post-lindau.de is full of charm. Set in an old post office building, the menu will make you feel like you’ve crossed the lake to Vorarlberg as you dine on classics such as wiener schnitzel. Time running out Make like the locals and hire a bike to catch the sun setting at Hintere Insel. To the west of the harbour, it’s more peaceful, so perch on the wall and take it all in. eurocycles.com Trip tip Join the ebb and flow of sail boats on Lake Constance to cool off and catch the breeze with an hour-long tour of the Bay of Bregenz (£8.70pp). ms-bayern.de Resources
Lindau Tourism is the official tourist board, offering useful tips on how to get the most out of your visit to the area. lindau.de
A Gushing Fountain by Martin Walser (Arcade Publishing, £19.46) is a semi-autobiographical account of a childhood affected by the rise of Nazism in a small Lake Constance town.